The Wisdom of Nature

The Wisdom of Nature

The world was created in a balanced and perfect way. Our bodies, perfect too. Our organs functioning collectively to make the body work. Similarly, nature provides everything; each species has its place, which contributes to the balance of the system. It is enough to make you stop and look at nature, to see its beauty and recognize that it has everything that human beings need, from food and resources to live, to the things we use, like paper for a book or wood to build a house.

Our ancestors were aware of the perfection of nature and respectfully borrowed the things they needed from it while appreciating what it provided them, and consequently making adequate use of the resources. Their contact with nature allowed them to listen to it, know its pains and make changes, if necessary. With humility, they recognized the goodness immersed in nature and the human being, which as part of the whole, flowed in harmony.

However, as time passed, human beings, in an effort to improve their living conditions, gave different uses to the resources that nature offered them. Little by little, and without realizing it, human beings lost their connection with nature. Perhaps, because now a city is a cement maze that does not allow us to see what was evident before:

  • The flow of a river indicates that everything flows;
  • The movement of water in the sea indicates that things are coming and going;
  • The sunrise and sunset indicates the beginning of a new day to enjoy and the night to rest;
  • The growth of a tree that indicates the connection with the soil through its roots;
  • The plants that absorb from the soil and air the nutrients they need to live; and
  • The animals reflect nobility, wisdom, and strength to survive in the ecosystem.

Recognizing this, our ancestors knew that everything was provided by nature and each being had an important place within this system in order to maintain its balance.

Why are we disconnected from nature?

The modern individual has changed his lifestyle and priorities. Health, food, and shelter are still important, but since they are acquired through monetary transactions, humans no longer recognize the natural value. A child who grows up in the countryside knows that sun, water, soil, and insects contribute to the good harvest of strawberries and by extension, values these natural resources. However, another child who grows up in the city will eat those strawberries, knowing that they came from the countryside, but not actually seeing all the efforts that were required to have them. We have lost sight of the cycle.

Return to the simple

People want the best for themselves: a better body, a better house, a better car, a better job, and so on. However, humans have already been provided with the best, however, we get distracted by such an information overload, that we do not dedicate enough time to reflect and connect with ourselves and, with nature.

The best that people have received is their life, their positive circumstances, and the other people around them. Although some situations may seem dysfunctional or difficult at times, they serve a purpose for our personal growth. Perhaps to recognize that and connect with ourselves, we must seek our roots and return to a simpler way of thinking, where we enjoy nature more and worry less about material things.

Time to awaken consciousness

When was the last time you enjoyed a day in the countryside? When was the last time you swam in the sea? When was the last time you did something good for nature, like helping an injured animal, planting a tree, cleaning a beach, or picking up your city’s trash to prevent pollution? Have you visited a farm that produces the fruits and vegetables you eat every day to find out how they are harvested? Do you know what the trees are like where the peaches you eat in your salad grow? Do you know the body of water where the water you drink at home comes from?

We are called to connect with our origins, to take the earth with our hands. It is time to know that the happiness of the heart can be found when we give ourselves time and space to connect with nature.

Consumed by Waste?

Consumed by Waste?

WALLE, a Disney movie released in 2008, is perhaps one of the films that best reflects how the earth will be in the future if human beings continue upholding the same lifestyle.

It is undeniable that since the industrial revolution, there have been significant advancements  which have ensured better conditions in nutrition, hygiene, and medicine, and therefore a greater life expectancy. In addition, other inventions have facilitated some of the tasks that were challenging for our ancestors, such as machinery for operation in the field, vehicles as a means of transport, and mobile devices that make possible communication.

However, new consumer habits and rapid population growth have caused one of the most sensitive problems we face today: the excessive generation of waste. According to the World Bank, around 2.010 million tons of urban solid waste were generated during 2016. This is an exorbitant figure, which generates more concern when considering the participation of the methods of its disposal worldwide. Around 37% of waste is deposited in sanitary landfills, 33% in open landfills, 19% is recovered through compost and recycling and the remaining 11% is treated by plants heat treatment or incinerators.

Waste discarded in open dumps and landfills that do not have an adequate gas collection system, cause the emission of greenhouse gases and consequently climate change. For its part, waste deposited in the sea is causing the extinction of species and negative effects on human health due to the consumption of microplastics. 

It is true that waste has been present since the beginning of the development of human civilization. However, in ancient times, the largest proportion of the waste generated was organic which means that it was deposited on the ground and decomposed easily. In contrast, most of the waste produced in modern society takes long periods of time to biodegrade. For example, a plastic bottle can take between 450 and 1,000 years to decompose, plastic cutlery 400 years, and disposable masks 450 years. While other materials such as Styrofoam © (The white material that is usually used in boxes to protect delicate products such as computers and televisions and is also used to pack food and beverages) and Tinfoil cannot decompose due to their chemical characteristics and will remain in the landfills forever.

ZERO WASTE

Faced with this situation, different movements have appeared, such as the “Zero Waste” ideology that is based on the conservation of all resources through responsible consumption and environmentally friendly production processes. The principles established in this approach can be visualized in the Zero Waste hierarchy:

Many people tend to think that recycling is the main solution to this environmental problem. However, recycling is not the answer to solve the waste crisis considering the efforts required for this process, such as the use of new resources, the consumption of water and energy, transportation, packaging and so on. Although recycling is part of the solution, it cannot be an excuse to ignore the underlying problem: OVERCONSUMPTION.

On the other hand, not all packaging or items that are considered recyclable or have this symbol 

   are able to be recycled because each local government has its own recycling system. 

Waste management in each city varies according to the technology available in the sorting plants and the needs of the companies to which the material is sold.

For this reason, every  citizen should take the time to educate themselves on the particularities of the waste management program of their city.

BE PART OF THE SOLUTION!

According to information reported by the World Bank, North America is the region with the highest generation of garbage per capita. In 2016, the total garbage generated was 289 million tons, with an average of 2.21 kilograms per capita per day. The good news is that public and private actions are being generated to solve the environmental crisis generated by waste. For example, Montreal is implementing a plan with the  objective of being a zero-waste city by 2030.

IT SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE BUT IT IS POSSIBLE!

Kamikatsu is a small city located in Japan that is listed as the world’s first zero-waste municipality. Sweden is another successful example in the field of waste management through an innovative waste-to-energy (WTE) program. This system has been so successful that the country has begun to import waste from other regions.

In both cases, one of the greatest factors that has allowed this environmental revolution is the commitment of each citizen.

BE PART OF ZERO WASTE REVOLUTION

Here are some recommendations that you can implement to be part of the change:

  1. Rethink and redesign: Open your mind and apply changes in the way that you consume. Choose eco-friendly products and options that reduce waste. Vrac & Bocaux, Loco, and Megavrac, are just a few of the zero-waste grocery stores in Montreal.
  2. Refuse: Refuse to use items that are not necessary such as single-use plastic. 
  3. Reduce: Whenever you go to consume something, think if it is really necessary. Think about the resources that had to be used in its manufacture and the destination that it will have after being used.
  4. Recycling: 
  • Check your city’s waste program to find out what can be recycled.
  • Download the APP: Ça va où? This will help you clarify the bin in which each item should go.
  • Identify the Ecocenter closest to your home, to bring there electrical objects, clothes in good condition, construction materials and Hazard materials.

5. Composting: If the collection of organic waste is not available in your neighborhood, you can take the material to the community composters or dare to use it in your own garden.

The garbage crisis is a reality that is causing irreversible damage to the environment. A big part of the solution is to have a responsible consumption, incorporate environmentally friendly habits, and be aware that every decision you make in your daily routine counts! 

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